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Earnhardt Finishes 14th in NNS Event at Las Vegas

By Mike Hoag, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 3/9/2013

Race: Sam’s Town 300
Track Specs: 1.5-mile tri-oval
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 65 deg.
Race Winner: Sam Hornish Jr.
Dale Jr.’s Finish: 14th

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 14th in the Sam’s Town 300 Saturday afternoon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after overcoming a flat left-rear tire under a late caution. The race was Earnhardt Jr.’s second of four NASCAR Nationwide Series races this season.

Earnhardt Jr. began the race strong despite starting in 32nd after qualifying was cancelled due to persistent rainfall Friday. He worked his way inside the top 10 in the first 35 laps. Earnhardt Jr. ran as high as ninth during the race’s middle stages.

Under caution in the final quarter of the race, crew chief Ryan Pemberton called for a major right-front spring adjustment that forced the team to work under the hood of the No. 88 Chevrolet for an extended period of time. Being the last car on the lead lap, track position was not an issue as Earnhardt Jr. made two additional trips down pit to top off on fuel. After taking the one-to-go from the NASCAR flagman, Earnhardt Jr. reported a flat left-rear tire, forcing him to return to the pits as the leaders took the green flag. Earnhardt Jr. was unable to rejoin the field without losing the lap.

Rallying back late in the race, Earnhardt Jr. received the free pass putting him on the lead lap for the final sprint to the finish. Earnhardt Jr. was unable to advance any higher than 14th by race’s end.

Earnhardt Jr.'s next Nationwide Series start is scheduled for April 12 at Texas Motor Speedway.

On moving up early...
“We started off the race making up a lot of track position but never seemed to make up any more ground once we cracked the top 10 early on...the car never seemed to settle in.”

On the flat tire late in the race...
“We had some bad luck with the flat tire under caution right before the restart and that pretty much ended our day. The Lucky Dog there at the end got us back on the lead lap, but there wasn’t enough time left to make any big moves.”

On the finish...
“I am proud of my team and the effort these guys put in, even though we weren’t able to practice as much as we had wanted to yesterday or today. I’m looking forward to racing again at Texas (Next Nationwide race for Earnhardt Jr.)”

Las Vegas Race Report
Start 32nd
Finish 14th
Laps Completed (Led) 200 of 200 (0)
Condition Running
After Ford EcoBoost 400
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 +3 Kevin Harvick 5043 0
2 +1 Ryan Newman 5042 -1
3 -2 Denny Hamlin 5037 -6
4 -2 Joey Logano 5028 -15
5 -- Brad Keselowski 2361 -2682
6 -- Jeff Gordon 2348 -2695
7 -- Matt Kenseth 2334 -2709
8 +2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2301 -2742
9 -- Carl Edwards 2288 -2755
10 -2 Kyle Busch 2285 -2758
11 +2 Jimmie Johnson 2274 -2769
12 +2 Kurt Busch 2263 -2780
Full Standings